Jan Eliasson

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Jan Eliasson
Jan Eliasson 2010-06-17 002.jpg
Jan Eliasson in October 2010
4th Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
In office
1 July 2012 – 31 December 2016
Secretary-GeneralBan Ki-moon
Preceded byAsha-Rose Migiro
Succeeded byAmina Mohammed
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
24 April 2006 – 6 October 2006
Prime MinisterGöran Persson
Preceded byLaila Freivalds
Succeeded byCarl Bildt
60th President of the United Nations General Assembly
In office
13 September 2005 – 11 September 2006
Preceded byJean Ping
Succeeded byHaya Rashed Al-Khalifa
Swedish Ambassador to the United States
In office
Preceded byRolf Ekéus
Succeeded byGunnar Lund
State Secretary for Foreign Affairs
In office
Preceded byLars-Åke Nilsson
Succeeded byHans Dahlgren
1st Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
In office
Succeeded byPeter Hansen
Swedish Ambassador to the United Nations
In office
Preceded byAnders Ferm
Succeeded byPeter Osvald
Personal details
Jan Kenneth Eliasson

(1940-09-17) 17 September 1940 (age 82)
Gothenburg, Sweden
Political partySocial Democratic
Alma materRoyal Swedish Naval Academy
University of Gothenburg

Jan Kenneth Eliasson (born 17 September 1940) is a Swedish diplomat who was Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations from July 2012 to December 2016.[1][2] A member of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, Eliasson served as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 24 April to 6 October 2006. Eliasson was appointed as Governing Board Chair of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in April 2017 and assumed his role as of 1 June 2017.[3]


Jan Eliasson was born in a working-class family in Gothenburg in Sweden. His father John was a taxi driver, previously a metal worker at SKF, and his mother Karin was a seamstress. His father was engaged in the labor union for transport. He was an AFS exchange student in Indiana, United States, from 1957 to 1958 and was commissioned a naval officer in the reserve after training at the Royal Swedish Naval Academy in 1962. During his time in the United States, he once met John F. Kennedy. In 1965 he earned a master's degree in economics from the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg where he was also a president of the local AIESEC committee. He also holds honorary degrees from American University (1994), University of Gothenburg (2001) and Uppsala University (2005).

Eliasson has authored and co-authored numerous books and articles and is a frequent lecturer on foreign policy and diplomacy. Since 1988 he has been a visiting lecturer on mediation, conflict resolution and UN reform at Uppsala University.

Eliasson started his diplomatic career in 1965, when he was employed at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. From 1982 to 1983 he served as Diplomatic Advisor to the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, and from 1983 to 1987 as Director General for Political Affairs in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

From 1980 to 1986, Eliasson was part of the U.N. mission, mediating in the Iran–Iraq War. From 1988 to 1992 he served as Sweden's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, where he also served as the Secretary-General's Personal Representative on Iran/Iraq.

In 1991, Eliasson was chairman of the U.N. General Assembly's working group on emergency relief and Vice President of the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) from 1991 to 1992. In 1992 he was appointed as the first U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. He was involved in operations in Somalia, Sudan, Mozambique and the Balkans. He also took initiatives on issues such as land mines, prevention and humanitarian action.

Jan Eliasson (right) meeting with George W. Bush in 2005.

In 1993–94 Eliasson served as mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).[4]

From 1994 to 1999, Eliasson served as Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs. From 2000 to 2005 he served as Sweden's Ambassador to Washington, D.C., United States. On 13 June 2005 he was unanimously elected President of the United Nations General Assembly, for its sixtieth session. He served as president from 13 September 2005 to 11 September 2006.[4]

From 24 April 2006 to 6 October 2006 he also served as Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Social Democratic cabinet of Göran Persson. Following the 2006 Swedish general election when his party lost the election, he announced that he will teach at Uppsala University.[4]

Humanitarian and Cultural crisis in the Middle East Jan Eliasson, 7 September 2015

Eliasson condemned the 2006 Lebanon War: "The military offensive of Israel is an extremely dangerous escalation of the situation in the region". He also condemned the attacks of Hezbollah.[5]

In December 2006, then U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced Eliasson as Special Envoy to Darfur, Sudan. He left this mission in June 2008.[4]

In March 2009, Eliasson gave a lecture entitled "Armed Conflict: The Cost to Civilians" at the University of San Diego's Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series.

Eliasson is an Eminent Member of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation and he currently sits on the advisory board of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. Eliasson is Chair of WaterAid Sweden. Since 2010 he serves in the UN Secretary-General's Advocates Group for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Eliasson is a former Board member of DARA.

On 2 March 2012, Jan Eliasson was appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He took office as Deputy Secretary-General on 1 July 2012.[4]

He always carries in his pocket a print of the UN charter.

He was awarded the Illis quorum in 2016.[6]

On 23 October 2017, the Tallberg Foundation announced that its Global Leadership Prize will henceforth be named after Jan Eliasson.[7]

On 27 April 2017, the Swedish Government appointed Jan Eliasson as Chair of the SIPRI Governing Board. Eliasson has formally assumed the position as of 1 June 2017.[8]

On 13 May 2022, Eliasson published a memoir titled Ord och Handling : ett liv i diplomatins tjänst ("Words and Action : a life in service of diplomacy").[9]

Personal life[edit]

Eliasson is married to Kerstin Eliasson, former Swedish State Secretary for Education and Science. They have three children: Anna, Emilie and Johan. He is a GAIS supporter.[10]


  1. ^ Kihlström, Staffan (2 March 2012). "Eliasson får FN-toppjobb". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  2. ^ Näslund, Lars (2 July 2012). "Här svär Jan Eliasson eden - blir ny FN-topp". Expressen (in Swedish). Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  3. ^ "SIPRI welcomes Ambassador Jan Eliasson as new Governing Board Chair | SIPRI". sipri.org. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e United Nations Web Services Section. "Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations". un.org. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Skarp kritik från den svenska regeringen (Sharp criticism from the Swedish government)". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). 13 July 2006. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012.
  6. ^ Holmqvist, Anette (9 December 2016). "Jan Eliasson prisas för jobb i fredens tjänst". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Honoring Jan Eliasson". Archived from the original on 7 December 2017.
  8. ^ Regeringskansliet, Regeringen och (27 April 2017). "Jan Eliasson ny styrelseordförande för SIPRI". Regeringskansliet (in Swedish). Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Ord och handling : ett liv i diplomatins tjänst". Albert Bonniers Förlag (in Swedish). Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  10. ^ Lukins, Emma (29 March 2011). "Gais tar till diplomathjälp för Wanderson". Göteborgs-Posten (in Swedish). Retrieved 17 September 2015.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Swedish Ambassador to the United Nations
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Preceded by Swedish Ambassador to the United States
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Positions in intergovernmental organisations
New office Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
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Preceded by President of the United Nations General Assembly
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Preceded by Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
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Government offices
Preceded by State Secretary for Foreign Affairs
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Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Foreign Affairs
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